An overview of the Indian test and measurement market

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Test & Measurement The increasing adoption of advanced electronic devices means that there’s an acute need for equally advanced T&M processes. Here’s a quick review of the opportunities and the challenges faced by the T&M market, which is headed for high growth.

By the ComConnect Consulting research team

A ccurate testing and measurement is critical in electronic systems design and manufacturing to ensure product quality. Test and measurement (T&M) systems play an essential role in ratifying the performance of a wide range of electronic products. Increased product complexity has spurred the demand for precision testing at every stage of the product’s life cycle, right from design and development to production testing, pre- and post-market testing, as well as support. Thus, the growth of the test and measurement industry goes hand in hand with the growth of the electronics industry in the country. To find out more about the latest developments in the T&M space, the ComConnect Consulting team did some market research.

Methodology
The methodology adopted was to collate quantitative and qualitative information about the T&M equipment market, which began with secondary research. Subsequently, the findings were analysed and have been verified through insights shared by key industry experts on the following areas:
Market size
Market opportunities
Market drivers
Technology trends
Further analysis was done on the basis of their inputs.

Market opportunities
India has the potential to be among the forerunners in the next phase of technology innovations. The Indian electronic systems design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector has witnessed steady growth in recent years, with the focus shifting from pure play system or product design to include other areas such as product development, original design manufacturing (ODM), etc. Therefore, immense business opportunities are brewing in the Indian T&M industry.

Figure 1 The Indian T&M market: Current size and forecasts
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High growth in the Indian T&M equipment market is due to technology developments, expanding end user applications and the growing need to validate the performance of equipment. Other factors driving growth in the T&M domain are the stringent quality, safety and environmental standards for manufacturing, maintenance and the use of equipment. Moreover, proper implementation of government initiatives like Make in India, 100 Smart Cities, Digital India and the defence manufacturing drive will definitely open up new opportunities for T&M industry players.

According to the industry experts who participated in the survey, the current Indian T&M market (that’s linked to the ESDM industry) has an approximate turnover of US$ 150-200 million. However, the market presents a much bigger opportunity considering that Frost & Sullivan, a market research firm, forecasts that the Indian market for general-purpose electronic T&M instruments will touch US$ 300 million by 2022 (Figure 1).

Market drivers
The Indian T&M market is driven by both global and domestic demand. Growth in this market is a result of the growth registered by the key end user segments like automotive, aerospace and defence, electronics design, etc. Defence and other government sectors have also been

Figure 2: Forecasts on the sectors likely to generate the most demand for T&M equipment

instrumental in driving the growth of this sector. Our experts forecast automotive followed by telecommunications, aerospace and defence as well as electronics design as the major demand generating application sectors (Figure 2).

The trend of automotive companies switching to automated testing is driving up demand for T&M equipment. The increasing electronic content in vehicles—for infotainment, connectivity and safety purposes, along with the growing acceptance of green mobility (through e-vehicles) will also fuel the growth of the T&M sector. Besides, the increase in R&D activities across the electronics industry value chain is expected to drive up demand. The experts also highlighted the bright future of the defence manufacturing ecosystem in India and the related opportunities for the T&M segment.

India has vast potential in telecommunications and mobile manufacturing too. With the ‘Make in India’ initiative creating a wave of opportunities, mobile manufacturing is all set to gain further momentum. Therefore, experts are also looking forward to the burgeoning opportunities in mobile handset manufacturing and allied verticals like mobile services, cable TV, broadcasting, etc. Smart cities are also likely to boost the power and communications sectors in India and eventually contribute to the growth of the T&M industry.

Trends in the T&M market
Besides the demand-generating sectors, the T&M market will be driven by some special trends, as listed below.
Support for predictive maintenance: Increasing awareness about predictive maintenance amongst Indian manufacturers is also driving the growth of the T&M industry.
Equipment with unique features: The demand from customers to address complex process issues is forcing T&M companies to innovate continuously. This has resulted in the development of high-end devices with unique features.
Multi-functional and multi-domain testing: Multi-functional testing kits are the latest trend in maintenance departments. Instead of having many different testing kits for individual applications, engineers have realised the benefits of using one kit with multi-functional testing capabilities. Such tools have multi-domain applications as well.
Smart testing for ‘smart devices’: For both testing managers and engineers, the challenge is to ensure quality at increasingly lower costs. To test their smart devices, organisations are transitioning from the status quo of rack-and-stack box instruments and closed turnkey ATE systems to smarter test systems that deliver connectivity and problem-solving capabilities.
Customised equipment: The current focus on customised test equipment is driving the overall market, as most of the low-end T&M equipment is now available with control options.
Quality ensures long term success: According to the experts, customers are willing to spend the extra penny for good quality. However, the definition of quality can be subjective and is often determined by the customer’s unique perspective. Nevertheless, experts on the panel for this report believe that objective standards of quality lead to quantifiable benchmarks, as all customers want their systems to function properly and reliably on a consistent basis.

The demand for electricity across India has been growing at a rapid rate and is expected to increase further in the years to come. To address this, power generation, transmission and distribution companies will have to invest in reliable, accurate and efficient equipment to protect their assets from failure. Therefore, the growth prospects of T&M equipment related to the industrial electronics sector are quite promising. India is an emerging solar hub of the world, considering that capacity for nearly 100GW of solar power is to be added in the next five years. So solar power could become a very important market for T&M products.

Emerging trends
The need for a connected and safer world, leveraging advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) interaction, autonomous driving and 5G are the new technology trends that will lead to the growth of the T&M industry worldwide and in India too.
According to the latest study by Frost & Sullivan, titled, ‘Global Electronic Test and Measurement, Forecast to 2022’, the growth will span a range of technologies and cover the entire product life cycle—from R&D to manufacturing and quality assurance.
In the next five to ten years, a lot is expected to happen, whether in the wireless technology or application areas. For example, IoT is one of the key driving factors. The proliferation of smart devices has begun to influence the design and use of T&M equipment. Each ‘smart’ product has to go through a specific set of processes to ensure its usability and functionality for the intended purpose – and behind each of these steps are the design, manufacturing and testing procedures. T&M technologies are going to evolve accordingly. There are emerging needs for embedded/portable T&M solutions, IoT test solutions with remote troubleshooting capabilities, and solutions that can support the latest interfaces and protocols.

In wireless technology, the emergence of 5G is going to change the technology landscape. The greater need for interoperability and 5G are the top two emerging trends in the global T&M market. Two key features in 5G NR are especially important for the realisation of higher data rates than in LTE—the use of millimeter wave frequencies (up to 100 GHz) and support for significantly higher signal bandwidths. In particular, 5G NR supports signal bandwidths up to 100MHz for carrier frequencies below 6GHz and up to 400MHz for frequencies in the millimeter wave range.
These developments present new challenges for development engineers. Designing power amplifiers that exhibit the necessary characteristics (e.g., linearity) is not easy and may need new design approaches (e.g., digital predistortion). The circuitry needed to generate frequencies in the millimeter wave range requires well-thought out design and the careful selection of components in order to reduce the effects of phase noise introduced by mixers and multipliers. Beamforming also requires very good amplitude and phase synchronisation between antenna elements in active antenna systems.

The high frequencies intensify the challenges for T&M methods. The short wavelengths and higher losses in circuits necessitate tight integration, making it impractical to supply connector ports for testing. At the same time, the effects of connectors and test fixtures become non-negligible, potentially affecting the validity of the measurements recorded. As a result, over-the-air (OTA) testing will play an important role.

Market challenges

  • Imported low-quality, cheap equipment from China
  • Tough price competition
  • Low customer budgets for T&M
  • No major incentives or subsidies from the government for capital investments in T&M
  • High GST rate of 18 per cent levied on T&M equipment. Industry has appealed to reduce this to 12 per cent
  • No major incentives for exporters of T&M equipment

Automation powered by M2M interaction is the new technology trend in the power sector and, hence, the demand for automated products is growing. Accordingly, the new technological advancements like data logging DMMs and automated power-calculating power clamp meters will experience good growth. Online transmission line monitoring systems, compact tan-delta testing machines, automatic breaker testing machines, discrete monitoring of power losses at each feeder by distribution companies, etc, are some of the key areas of application.

Major contributors for this report
1. Nasser Jariwala, director (sales and operations) – T&M, Rohde & Schwarz India
2. Shailendra Kalra, MD, Livingston India Pvt Ltd
3. S.A. Srinivasa Moorthy, group CTO, Precision Group
4. Madhukar Tripathi, head – marcom and optical products, Anritsu India Pvt Ltd
5. V. Vijayakumar, GM – sales and marketing,
Qmax Test Equipments Pvt Ltd

With respect to the user experience, touchscreen technologies are going to revolutionise the T&M environment. A combination of the right hardware with a ‘designed for touch’ user interface (UI) will enable companies to use equipment easily and efficiently. ‘Designed for touch’ UIs are crucial for creating an effective and usable touchscreen, since it is not enough to simply add a touchscreen to an existing UI. The new age T&M equipment needs to identify, isolate and analyse a system under test as quickly and efficiently as possible. Having an effective touchscreen on the instrument can reduce the time it takes to configure the system and to analyse signals. Thus, instruments with better GUIs result in ease of operation and automated testing capabilities, which increases productivity.

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